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'Blackology': How can efforts around inclusivity in STEM fields go farther?

Bobbi Wilson, her mother, and others look at a shadowbox full of butterfly specimens.
Ijeoma Opara
Bobbi Wilson was on the lookout for spotted lanternflies in her neighborhood, and well on her way to collecting some 27 of the invasive species, when she fielded a police complaint from a neighbor. The incident sparked national outrage over racial profiling. Since then, Bobbi’s collection of lanternflies has been admitted into the Peabody Museum of Natural History’s database, and in a January 20th ceremony, she was recognized as a “donor scientist” by the Yale School of Public Health.

Of the millions of people working in STEM fields in the U.S., only 9% are Black, according to the Pew Research Center. Those numbers are "unchanged" since 2016.

How can efforts around “inclusivity” in these fields go farther? Environmental scientist Dr. Nyeema Harris has written about the importance of Blackology.

“Blackologists are not simply scholars that are Black but, rather, are scholars who deliberately leverage and intersect Blackness into advancing knowledge production," she writes.

Dr. Harris joins us to discuss how this approach is applied to environmental science and so many other disciplines.

Plus, public health professor Dr. Ijeoma Opara discusses her work to reduce racial health disparities, and to "strengthen the pipeline of Black youth to the field of public health research."


Cat Pastor contributed to this episode which originally aired February 24.

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.
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